Introduction to Philosophy (Fall '09) - class#24

Introduction to Philosophy (Fall '09) - class#24 - Course...

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Unformatted text preview: Course Evaluations Catalogue/Section Number: 100B Class Number: 35121 Organizational Information This is our last lecture. But there will be discussion section But tomorrow. tomorrow. The final exam has been scheduled for 12/17 The at 8:00 in Mahar 0108. at Review Session: Tuesday, 12/15, 7pm-9pm Review in Thompson 106. in Review From Last Time The No Physical Basis Argument 1. 2. 3. If moral equality is based on physical equality, then if one race were If physically superior to another, then it would be morally permissible to discriminate against the physically inferior race. discriminate It is not the case that if one race were physically superior to another, then it It would be morally permissible to discriminate against the physically inferior race. race. Therefore, it is not the case that moral equality is based on physical equality. Therefore, 1,2 MT 1,2 Justification for premise 1: If the moral equality did depend on Justification physical equality, then it would have to be the case that if different races were not physically equal, then there would not be moral equality between those races and so premise 1 would be true. equality Justification for premise 2: Moral Intuition. It doesn’t seem true that if Justification some race was physically (or intellectually, etc.) superior to another race that would mean that moral discrimination against the physically inferior race would be morally permissible. inferior Review From Last Time The Principle of Equal Consideration (PEC): The The interests of A do not count, morally, for more than similar The interests of B in determining how we should act. interests What it is to have interests? That is a difficult question, but being able to suffer pain and to enjoy That things is enough to have some interests. things The reason why a dog has interests and a stone does not: One can’t make a stone’s “life” go badly because it cannot suffer. But one can make dog’s life go badly; this is because the dog can But suffer, and causing it to suffer will make its life go badly. suffer, The racist gives greater weight to the interests of members of her race The racist in determining what to do. in The speciesist gives greater weight to the interests of members of her The speciesist species in determining what to do. species Singer claims that the racist and the speciesist equally violate the Singer principle of equal consideration. principle Review From Last Time Singer asserts that most human beings are speciesists. And, he claims, Singer a number of our practices show this. number The Food Industry The Cosmetics Industry The Biomedical Research Industry Argument Against The Capacity to Reason As A Justification for Restricting PEC 1. If the capacity to reason is a justification for restricting the principle of equal consideration, If then it is permissible to raise human imbeciles for food and scientific experimentation. then 2. It is not the case that it is permissible to raise human imbeciles for food and scientific It experimentation. experimentation. 3. Therefore, it is not the case that the capacity to reason is a justification for restricting the Therefore, principle of equal consideration. 1,2 MT 1,2 Justification for Premise 1: Human imbeciles do not have the capacity to reason. Justification In fact, their cognitive capacities fall well short of those of many “higher” nonIn human animals. So if reason were a justification for restricting the principle of human equal consideration, it should be permissible to treat human imbeciles in the same ways in which we treat non-human animals, i.e., raise them for food and experiment on them. experiment Justification for Premise 2: It just seems obvious that it is not permissible to do Justification these things to human beings, even if they are imbeciles. these Morality of Warfare Nagel’s interest is the moral rules governing the Nagel’s conduct of war in the service of a morally just cause. He is interested only in the moral rules governing the He prosecution of a morally permissible war (a war that it is morally permissible to engage in) and the actions of soldiers who are engaged in acts which serve to bring such a morally permissible war to a favorable conclusion. conclusion. Morality of Warfare “No elaborate moral theory is required to account for No what is wrong in cases like the Mylai massacre, since it did not serve, and was not intended to serve, any strategic purpose. Moreover, if the participation of the United States in the Indo-Chinese war is entirely wrong to begin with, then that engagement is incapable of providing a justification for any measures any taken in its pursuit--not only for the measures which are atrocities in every war, however just its aims.” are Morality of Warfare Nagel does not address the question what makes a morally Nagel not permissible war permissible. permissible That is the province of “just war theory” But he does note that if a war is not morally permissible, then But any action taken in prosecuting that war cannot be morally justified (i.e., rendered morally permissible) in virtue of the permissibility of that war. permissibility So if the Vietnam war was not itself a morally permissible war, So then no action taken in its pursuit is made morally permissible in virtue of its utility to the prosecution of that war. virtue Morality of Warfare Also, even if one is engaged in a morally permissible Also, war, if an act does not serve the purpose of the war, then that action is not morally permissible in virtue of its being performed in that war. its Thus, even if the Vietnam War was morally permissible, as Thus, the Mylai massacre did not serve the purpose of the war, it is not morally permissible because it was performed during that war. that Morality of Warfare An act of war, then, is morally permissible only if it is An performed in the service of a morally permissible war. performed But not every act of war performed in the service of a But morally permissible act is itself morally permissible. morally So, Nagel is interested in the question: What moral restrictions are there in the prosecution of even What a morally permissible war? morally Morality of Warfare The central issue: “I propose to discuss the most general moral problem raised propose by the conduct of warfare: the problem of means and ends. In one view, there are limits on what may be done even in the service of an end-worth pursuing--and even when adherence to the restriction may be very costly. A person who acknowledges the force of such restrictions can find himself in acute moral dilemmas. He may believe, for example, that by torturing a prisoner he can obtain information necessary to prevent a disaster, or that by obliterating one village with bombs he can halt a campaign of terrorism.” bombs Morality of Warfare Nagel argues that it is sometimes morally Nagel impermissible to employ certain methods to achieve morally desirable ends even in a morally permissible war. morally Nagel does not argue for pacifism. Nagel not Pacifism is the doctrine according to which one may not kill another person under any circumstances, no matter what good would be achieved or evil averted thereby. achieved Morality of Warfare Though Nagel does not think that pacifism is Though correct he does think that “there are other views according to which violence may be undertaken, even on a large scale, in a clearly just cause, so long as certain absolute restrictions on the character and direction of that violence are observed. The line is drawn somewhat closer to the bone, but it exists.” Morality of Warfare “There seems to be a perfectly natural conception of the There distinction between fighting clean and fighting dirty. To fight dirty is to direct one’s hostility or aggression not at its proper object, but at a peripheral target which may be more vulnerable, and through which the proper object can be attacked indirectly. This applies in a fist fight, an election campaign, a duel, or a philosophical argument. If the concept is general enough to apply to all these matters, it should apply to war--both to the conduct of individual soldiers and to the conduct of nations.” individual Morality of Warfare Nagel’s principle: The Fair Fight Principle (FFP): An act of war, A, is morally permissible if and only if: (1) A is performed in the service of a morally is permissible war, and permissible (2) A is directed both at the hostile forces with which is one is engaged and at those features of those hostile forces which make them hostile to us. hostile Nagel thus argues that FFP is an instance of a general Nagel principle that holds for all kinds of fights between hostile parties, not just in the case of war. parties, Morality of Warfare “Suppose that you are a candidate for public office, convinced that the Suppose election of your opponent would be a disaster, that he is an unscrupulous demagogue who will serve a narrow range of interests and seriously infringe the rights of those who disagree with him; and suppose you are convinced that you cannot defeat him by conventional means. Now imagine that various unconventional means present themselves as possibilities: you possess information about his sex life which would scandalize the electorate if made public; or you learn that his wife is an alcoholic or that in his youth he was associated for a brief period with a proscribed political party, and you believe the information could be used to blackmail him into withdrawing his candidacy; or you can have a team of your supporters flatten the tyres of a crucial subset of his supporters on election day; or you are in a position to stuff the ballot boxes; or, more simply, you can have him assassinated. What is wrong with these methods, given that they will achieve an overwhelmingly desirable result?” overwhelmingly Morality of Warfare “There are, of course, many things wrong with them: some are against the law; There some infringe procedures of an electoral process to which you are committed by taking part in it; very importantly, some may backfire, and it is in the interest of all political candidates to adhere to an unspoken agreement not to allow certain personal matters to intrude into a campaign. But that is not all. We have in addition the feeling that these measures, these methods of attack, are irrelevant irrelevant to the issue between you and your opponent, that in taking them up you would not be directing yourself to that which makes him an object of your opposition. You would be directing your attack not at the true target of your hostility, but at peripheral targets that happen to be vulnerable. peripheral The same is true of a fight or argument outside the framework of any system of The regulations or law. In an altercation with a taxi driver over an excessive fare, it is inappropriate to taunt him about his accent, flatten one of his tyres, or smear chewing-gum on his windshield; and it remains inappropriate even if he casts aspersions on your race, politics, or religion, or dumps the contents of your suitcase into the street.” suitcase Morality of Warfare FFP places restrictions on: (1) (2) who we may morally permissibly attack in war, and how we may morally permissibly attack those that we can morally permissibly attack we According to FFP, “hostility or aggression should be According directed at its true object. This means both that it should be directed at the person or persons who provoke it and that it should aim more specifically at what is provocative about them. The second condition will determine what form the hostility may appropriately take.” Morality of Warfare According to FFP an act of war is morally permissible According only if it is directed at the hostile forces with which one is engaged. engaged. Here the distinction between combatants and non-combatants is Here crucial. This distinction is to be drawn based on the harmfulness and the immediacy of the threat that a person poses. and The dividing line between combatants and noncombatants is not a sharp one--there are tough cases-but “it is not so difficult as is often supposed to place but individuals on one side of it or another.” individuals Morality of Warfare “Children are not combatants even though they may join the armed forces if Children they are allowed to grow up. Women are not combatants just because they bear children or offer comfort to the soldiers. More problematic are the supporting personnel, whether in or out of uniform, from drivers of munitions trucks and army cooks to civilian munitions workers and farmers. I believe they can be plausibly classified by applying the condition that the prosecution of conflict must direct itself to the cause of danger, and not to what is peripheral. The threat presented by an army and its members does not consist merely in the fact that they are men, but in the fact that they are armed and are using their arms in the pursuit of certain objectives. Contributions to their arms and logistics are contributions to this threat; contributions to their mere existence as men are not. It is therefore wrong to direct an attack against those who merely serve the combatants’ needs as human beings, such as farmers and food suppliers, even though survival as a human being is a necessary condition of efficient functioning as a soldier.” human Morality of Warfare Nagel’s Argument Against The Killing of Children in Warfare 1. 2. 3. If children do not constitute part of the threat that If an opposing country poses in a war, then it is morally impermissible to kill children in the prosecution of a war. prosecution Children do not constitute part of the threat that an Children opposing country poses in a war. opposing Therefore, it is morally impermissible to kill children Therefore, in the prosecution of a war. in 1,2 MP Morality of Warfare Justification for premise 1: FFP is true. And if FFP is Justification true, then in war one can morally permissibly attack only things that constitute part of the threat with which one is engaged. which Justification for premise 2: It seems obvious that Justification children do not constitute part of the threat that another country poses when they are engaged in a war. war. Morality of Warfare “This brings us to the second group of restrictions: those that limit what may This be done even to combatants. These limits are harder to explain clearly…but I believe that the condition of directness and relevance in hostile relations accounts for them to a considerable extent. accounts Consider first a case which involves both a protected class of noncombatants and a restriction on the measures that may be used against combatants combatants. One provision of the rules of war which is universally recognized, though it seems to be turning into a dead letter in Vietnam, is the special status of medical personnel and the wounded in warfare. It might be more efficient to shoot medical officers on sight and to let the enemy wounded die rather than be patched up to fight another day. But someone with medical insignia is supposed to be left alone and permitted to tend and retrieve the wounded. I believe this is because medical attention is a species of attention to completely general human needs, not specifically the needs of a combat soldier, and our conflict with the soldier is not with his existence as a human being.” existence Morality of Warfare “By extending the application of this idea, one can justify prohibitions By against certain particularly cruel weapons: starvation, poisoning, infectious disease (supposing they could be inflicted on combatants only), weapons designed to maim or disfigure or torture the opponent rather than merely to stop him. It is not, I think, mere casuistry to claim that such weapons attack the men, not the soldiers. The effect of dum-dum bullets, for example, is much more extended than necessary to cope with the combat situation in which they are used. They abandon any attempt to discriminate in their effects between the combatant and the human being. For this reason, the use of flame-throwers and napalm is an atrocity in all circumstances that I can imagine, whoever the target may be. Burns are both extremely painful and extremely disfiguring--far more than any other category of wound. That this well-known fact plays no (inhibiting) part in the determination of US weapons policy suggests that moral sensitivity among public officials has not increased markedly since the Spanish Inquisition.” not Morality of Warfare Nagel’s Argument Against The Use of Flame-Throwers 1. 2. 3. If using a flame-thrower on someone constitutes an If attack on him as a human being and not merely as an enemy combatant, then it is morally impermissible to use a flame-thrower on someone. impermissible Using a flame-thrower on someone constitutes an Using attack on him as a human being and not merely as an enemy combatant. an Therefore, it is morally impermissible to use a Therefore, flame-thrower on someone. 1,2 MP 1,2 Morality of Warfare Justification for premise 1: FFP is true. And if FFP is Justification true, then in war we can only attack those aspects of enemy soldiers that makes them a threat to us. Their existence merely as human beings is not an aspect of them that makes them a threat to us. of Justification for premise 2: It does seem, intuitively, Justification that the use of flame-thrower on someone does seem to constitute an attack on him as a human being and not merely as an enemy combatant. ...
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